1. mark.roper

    mark.roper

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    Hednesford Hills Raceway on Sunday with my son who competes in a short oval formula called "Legends", body shells designed to mimic old American cars of the '30's and '40's, but smaller and fitted to a racing chassis and a powered by a 1250cc Yamaha bike engine.

    Hednesford, like all oval tracks, is surrounded by a wire fence, for obvious and necessary safety reasons. Which makes shooting through it a challenge, especially on Sunday as it was a bright sunny day and the wire reflects whichever way you look at it.

    Here are some shots through the fence at various shutter speeds in an attempt to mitigate or blur away the fence as much as possible:-

    [​IMG]


    1/20th of a second shutter, and the car I'd intended to be vaguely in focus (the lead car) almost kind of is, but the fence is a distracting and visible grid across the whole frame.

    [​IMG]

    Same again but 1/40th, and this time the horizontal wires of the safety fence are more noticeable than the vertical.

    [​IMG]

    Side-on, 1/60th and the horizontal wires are now a solid line, but the verticals are almost gone.

    [​IMG]

    1/60th seemed to be about the sweet spot, but it totally depends on the precise angle as well, here the vertical is starting to be more noticeable again.

    Such a shame, as these are cool cars, some of them very colourful and they have loads of character, but at most tracks the fence is always a problem. There are other tracks (we're at Aldershot next Sunday) where you can stand right next to the fence and shoot through it to an extent, but not panning shots like these.
     
  2. benh14

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    Big shame about the fence as all four shots would be good without it, especially 1 & 2 love the sense of speed in these shots using the slow shutter. I was faced with a similar problem at Silverstone on Sunday but the gaps between the thicker horizontal fencing were much larger than the above which meant it was possible to frame the car between horizontal lines and then crop if needed. Fair play for giving it a go though (y)
     
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  3. mark.roper

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    Yeah, it's a particular problem with Oval Track racing I guess, it's basically a circle with a fence all the way around. I go to Snetterton sometimes and there are many spots there where you can shoot over the fence, which is quite low and a fair distance from the track. At the Ovals you can get very near the track so the fence is a necessity.

    I did take some from over the fence at Hednesford, but that's only possible there because the track is sunk into what was an old reservoir and is surrounded by high banks. Here's one :-

    [​IMG]

    The trouble is this is with the longer lens, you're looking down on the cars, which is not the best angle, and I wasn't confident enough to go low with the shutter speed for these shots with this lens. I will practise some more of these when we're there next.
     
  4. Derek897

    Derek897

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    Cool shots, great that you tried different approaches to try and get around it. I only do a little bit of motorsport shooting. But here's what I'd suggest.
    Your f stop is too small, giving you a huge DOF which is compounding the fence issue. I know you needed to do that to get the slower shutter speed but it can't work in this scenario. So 2 options as I see it. 1 shallower DOF and higher shutter speed may get rid of the fence, at the expense of sense of movement or try an nd filter with larger fstop. Either or both should help. Good shooting
     
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  5. mark.roper

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    Yeah, I may indeed try that, although this is a m4/3 camera, so depth of field is doubled in full-frame terms to begin with, so for the those first 2 shots I'd have needed a 6 stop filter to get me back to f2.8.
     
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  6. Derek897

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    You probably won't need to be wide open but around f4 might be enough to get you out.
    Lovely looking cars, it would be great to see them without the distraction of the fence.
    Fingers crossed that it works (y)
     
  7. Derek897

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    Maybe a variable nd would work that way you would get to try wide open and stopping down a bit.
     
  8. mark.roper

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  9. Derek897

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  10. mark.roper

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    Blimey, that's nearly 1/10th the price, worth a shot! :)
     
  11. Derek897

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    That's what I thought you'd get to find out if the idea works without spending a fortune.
     
  12. srhmoto

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    @mark.roper I use 4 stop ND filters from SRB Photographic. They won't break the bank, and in my experience give great quality with zero colour cast.

    Simon.
     
  13. mark.roper

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    Looks like SRB do a variable density filter (2 - 8 stop) + a step-up adaptor (which I'd need as I have 62mm and 72mm lenses) for £50, which looks reasonable.

    However this track, Hednesford, is slightly different from others in that there is a railing around the outside keeping spectators at least 2 metres away from the fence. We're at Aldershot this Sunday where you can put your nose right up to the fence, I'll see how I get on there, it may be the fence being closer will get it outside the focal plane even at narrower apertures.
     
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  14. srhmoto

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    It will make a difference as the trick to getting fences to disappear is to get as close to it as you can, with as long a focal length as you can and then have a decent distance between you and your subject. Impossible to not have it have some impact on your shot though if its bright and sunny. I have heard of some photographers carrying a can of matt black spray paint to help make fences easier to shoot through. Never seen it done myself, so it maybe an urban myth, but it does make sense.
     
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  15. mark.roper

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    LOL, I think the Marshalls might have something to say about that, not really something I could do without being seen!

    Anyway, it's all a learning curve for me, until I bought the Olly EM1.2 I was struggling to get anything in focus at slow shutter speeds in the first place, it's only now I'm getting some keepers that the fence has started getting in the way! One thing at a time, every time I go out I learn something! :)
     
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  16. mark.roper

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    Didn't get the filter, wanted to try some things at the next meet, which was yesterday at Aldershot, but don't think anything I tried really worked as I wanted.

    Can get closer to the fence at this track, but same difference really :-

    [​IMG]

    And as you can get right up to the fence at this track it provides some options for shooting through it :-

    [​IMG]

    Tried some shots with cars in the foreground blurred to inject some motion (blurred because being near-side they're going in the opposite direction to cars on the far-side), but the fence is still a dirty smudge :-

    [​IMG]

    Oh well, learning what works and what doesn't every time, next meet is a new track I've never been to before, so yet more chances to learn.
     
  17. RichardC27

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    Try shooting a head on or three quarter shot (or rear shot as in my example) with a high shutter speed and wide aperture. If you can get your lens quite close to the fence you can make it almost disappear that way. This was taken through the fence at Oulton Park. 1/1250th, 323mm f5.6 with my lens hood touching the fence

    [​IMG]British GT Championship Oulton Park by Richard Crawford, on Flickr
     
  18. mark.roper

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    Yeah, I took some like that as well :-

    [​IMG]

    But shots like these don't really give a sense of motion, and at Oval tracks there are no sweeping vistas in the background to add drama. :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
  19. mark.roper

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    Hope it's OK to continue this thread, seeing as I started it, don't feel these need a new thread .... Still haven't got round to buying a ND filter, though I really must, and will try to do it this week. On Wednesday we were at Arlington raceway near Eastbourne, East Sussex, with the racing starting at 7:30pm, so late evening sunshine = bright colours, less harsh = slightly wider apertures available!

    [​IMG]

    I found I was now able to blur out the fence quite well, although now the heavy horizontal wire that forms the top of the crash barrier is clearly in the way. The official 'tog there (who came and had a chat, nice guy) had with him a folding stool / platform he used to get himself above the wire, which never occurred to me, so might be investing in one of those as well.

    [​IMG]

    There are a few photographers whose work I really admire, like Rich Webb who seems to specialise in slow shutter panning shots, and @srhmoto who posts here, where the blurred background is the abstract canvass upon which the vehicle is painted, and this is what I tried to do with this image, deliberately looking for a car sized gap in the spectators through which to shoot.

    [​IMG]

    However I think I might be getting too obsessed with slow shutter, the writing on the car right in the middle might be sharp-ish, but nothing else is. Is this "creative" or just a bad photo?

    [​IMG]

    Nothing too special about this one, 1/320th so much more likely to get a sharp image, but this is my son, so actually it is rather special to me!
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018
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  20. PhotoBoris

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    I've had similar problems at Least Mans this week. Try a circular polariser - I've found in the past that as well as allowing me to use a wider aperture, it takes some of the 4eflections off the mesh making it less obvious.
     
  21. alan72

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    In advance of a visit to the F1 earlier this year I got myself a 3 stop ND, which worked nicely to keep the exposure down at f2.8 and use some longer shutter speeds, 1/40 etc. Although I think it depends on the day, I was shooting on more overcast days in April, for bright sunny summer days you might need something stronger.
     

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